Interview with Guido Belgiorno-Nettis AM – current F40 World Champion

    Published on in News

    Transfusion - top mark rounding 2011 Worlds. Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

    Transfusion - top mark rounding 2011 Worlds. Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

    Australia is proud to hold the Farr 40 World Championship trophy, courtesy of Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and his World Championship winning crew on Transfusion. How does this successful businessman also find the time to steer his crew to victory?

    What was the primary motivator that led you to become involved in the Farr 40 class initially?

    In 2005-06 I started racing Sydney 38s, and after a few years my crew and I had decided we’d achieved everything we could in the 38 class. We had been through a big learning curve, and decided that if we wanted to test ourselves and keep climbing the competitive curve, we needed to get into a more demanding class.

    Stepping into the Farr 40 class, we managed to find a good boat, which is important. We then needed to put the right crew together. We have been developing the crew over the years and now have a World Championship team.

    In the leadup to the 2011 Worlds, how did you juggle the training and preparation of your Farr 40 campaign, with your business and other commitments?

    With great difficulty!! My brother and I run a very demanding business. To be successful, one must commit a lot of time to training, figure out the right team, and participate in the right regattas during the lead-up to a World Championship. In the six months prior to the 2011 Worlds, I had a particularly busy series of business commitments, and at one stage wondered whether I could manage it. However as they say, ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it’. I worked out how to be efficient with my time and managed to put it together.

    We were aware that with our Farr 40 campaign, we didn’t want to peak too early. We were confident in our crew work, but only finalised our crew by inviting John Kostecki to be our tactician just one month out from the regatta. Despite the pressure it worked out in the end and we put in the time necessary. For a full two weeks before the Worlds the entire crew as a team spent time training, sailing in the Sprint series, Nationals and then the Worlds.

    During the Worlds, was there a defining moment that propelled you from second place overall to Championship winner?

    It was a bit like Cadel Evans in the Tour de France. Despite his technical difficulties (he had to change his bike and lost 1 minute doing so) during the 3rd last leg of the Tour, he didn’t panic. When he ended up in the second group of cyclists, he urged and led the pack and got the entire group back up there with the first group.

    The grit of our team to not give up, when we were sitting in 10th position at the top mark in the second last race was absolutely the deciding moment of our regatta. If we hadn’t climbed from 10th place to 2nd in the race, it would have been the end of our regatta.

    I have wondered whether that comeback actually psyched out the Italians a bit, as they buried themselves in the last race and never recovered. However it was a demonstration of the maturity of my crew to realize even in the final race, we weren’t done yet. We were just going to get on with our business, focus on our job and nobody else’s. Even when we crossed the finish line in second place in the final race I had absolutely no idea where the Italians were, as I was so focused on steering the boat and finishing to the best of my ability. As it turned out, we won!

    What are your plans for the next 12 months?

    Transfusion is currently in Italy and on her way to Turkey. We are off to the European Championships in Turkey, Istanbul in October. It is our intention to then come back and do the Australian Farr 40 program on the East Coast.

    Apart from that, I might try sailing an Etchell or another one design class to try something a bit different, and hopefully I will have the opportunity to sail in the Sydney – Hobart Yacht Race this year. Next year we will go to the USA to do a few lead-up regattas before we go to Chicago to defend our Farr 40 World Championship.

    Australian contingents heading overseas this year: Estate Master, Transfusion and Kokomo will all compete in 2011 European Championship in Istanbul (8-16 October 2011). Best of luck!